Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Quantum Mechanical Torah Thought

According to "Orthodox" view of the Copenhagen school of quantum mechanics, it seems that things are only "really" real when observed/measured.

This leads to the "measurement problem".

The problem states that if it is true that particles are in superposition states and are not really "there" unless measured, but the measuring devices are themselves made out of particles, which according to the theory would "absorb" the uncertainty of the thing being measured, at what point is something truly observed and therefore real?

One solution is that observing requires something "outside" of the rules of quantum mechanics (read: outside of natural law), and therefore the human mind (read: soul) is the only thing capable of actual observation.

Hashem of course is also "outside" natural law, and therefore can also observe and hence make things "really" real.

This leads to an innovative way of explaining Bereishis:

When the Torah says "and Hashem saw", rather read it as "and Hashem observed", that is to say at certain steps along the evolution of the Universe, Hashem "sealed" and "made real" the Universe by observing the quantum wave function(s). Also "and it was good" could be read as "and it became real" (since having something exist is good!).

Thus, the 13.7 billion year history of the Universe takes place in 6 days. This is calculated either by counting the time during observation, or reading "night and day" as chaos and order, i.e. superposition and "real".

Why have these steps? Possibly to teach all the deeper lessons extracted from the 6 days, as well as setting the length of the week so there can be a Shabbos.

Today, either Hashem is constantly proving us with a wave function which we in turn observe and make "real" (thus being a partner in creation), or Hashem "observes" at every moment in order to make mostly everything "real" but our individual decisions, etc. observe things near and relevant to us, and thereby makes us partners in creation.

(This or course could all be sheker, but I thought it was a neat thought)


YGB said...

So let me get this straight:

Billions of years elapsed and the six days are only the interventions?

micha said...

I'm sorry, I don't see how this idea would work.

Hashem knows everything. Thus, His observation is what makes the wave real. It can't force the collapse of the wave function because then there would never be quantum uncertainty -- every wave would immediately collapse.

That said, it's possible Hashem made 10 special observation-like wave collapses over the course of 6 days that then collapsed the wave functions of the universe into a 13.8 billion year history. However, your last sentence doesn't work. Our observation isn't our free will, and Hashem's knowledge doesn't force a collapse.


Reuven Meir said...

I don't mean Hashem's knowledge collapses the wavefunction. Rather His coise to "observe" whatever that means, is what collapses the wavefuction.

Reuven Meir said...

"Billions of years elapsed and the six days are only the interventions? "

Whether they elapsed or not is questionable since time and space are linked and the uncetanty "fuzzy" wave function is comprised of time and space.

It would make more sence in the absence of a human observer (Adam), that the days are periods of weave-function and collapse (i.e. chaos and order).

(This idea is one I found in an issue of B'ohr HaTorah by a physists triying to rectify the age of the universe and the lebuvitch view of "looking old" in a more logical framework. )